Clickers capture the raw essence of gaming. They strip away all the unnecessary stuff and deliver a giant dose of pure gamification serum straight into your spinal cord (please don’t try that at home.)

Void Troopers is an ingenious clicker that doesn’t look like a clicker at all. It looks like a top-down bullet-hell shooter along the lines of Ikaruga or Sky Force, pitching you and a growing fleet of ships against wave after wave of deadly colorful enemies.

It sees you taking on the Zurlocs in a story that unfolds over a number of chapters, as you plunge deeper into enemy territory and make terrifying new discoveries.

All you actually have to do is tap on the screen. Well, that and a bit of housekeeping. You automatically amass gold coins as you play, and you get more still whenever you sign in, and by sending Captains out on expeditions.

You spend this gold on upgrading your own ship, recruiting more ships, upgrading those, and on special weapons to help you get past the increasingly tough boss battles.

At the beginning of the game you have one ship at level 1 and no gold. But keep tapping and you’ll soon have a fortune in the tens, then hundreds, then thousands, millions, billions, trillions, and beyond.

You’ll spend it almost faster that you can make it, but no matter how deadly your army becomes the enemy always gets deadlier in response.

That’s the core gameplay loop, but Void Troopers has an absolutely killer twist. Eventually your progress is doomed to grind to a near halt. The only way to improve at a reasonable rate is to buy upgrades to your damage, your fleet’s damage, and so on.

You can research and buy these upgrades, but only with Time Orbs. You amass Time Orbs through play, but you can only unlock them by travelling back in time.

Yep, to move forward sometimes you have to move back, taking the heartbreaking step of losing all of your progress, your fleet, your firepower, your billions, and working your way back with souped-up stats.

It’s an ingenious twist, forcing you to make difficult decisions if you want to see the stage 20 and the end of the game.

Void Troopers is a truly novel clicker, and it contains hours upon hours of addictive gameplay. Grab it for free right now on Google Play and the App Store.